Before leaving for the bus station Sensei put me to work. There was a lot of one day challenge pieces that Sensei was trimming and he asked me to put some handles on the mugs. I handled them really well (pun intended!). I got my apartment all packed up and cleaned up and then Loaded the car with Sensei. I said my goodbyes to everyone and Megumi gave me the best going away present, mosquito bite medicine haha!! It also came with a wonderful letter which meant the world to me. Sensei drive me to the bus station that was a direct path to the airport. The ride wasn't too bad and I didn't have to make any tranfers which was fantastic. When I got to the airport to check in with my luggage I hadn't realized that one of my bags was overweight. I felt so bad for the lady helping me but she was so nice and patient. We took some things out and rearranged the bags so I wouldn't have to pay a fine. She was extremely helpful and accomaditing. I noticed her last name was Kato and I thought what a great coincidence. Then, as she was helping me check in she was asking me questions about my stay in Japan and I told her I was studying pottery in Seto. And then!!! as we were pulling items out of my bags to lighten the load she saw one of the pottery pieces I bought and she said, "You said you were in Seto? I'm from Seto!" Small world! or at least small country haha. She was probably related to Sensei in some way but not closely. When I finally made it through check in and security I was able to relax at my gate for a little while before boarding.
As I was sitting there I had this feeling of bittersweetness. I was happy to get to continue my journey and see John, but I was sad to be leaving Kasen. I realized I was only there three weeks, but I felt comfortable there and it was beginning to feel like I've been there longer. It is that weird feeling when you feel like you just got there and time flew by and yet if felt like you've known these people for years. Goodbye mainland Japan, hello Okinawa!
Okinawa is beautiful too and I am staying in a cabin right on the beach. I can see the beach from the front porch. Many pictures to come I am sure. We are planning a trip to the pottery community on Okinawa and to the studio that Sensei told me about. My pottery journey is still continuing and who knows... maybe I'll find somewhere to get my hands a little muddy. Until then, I will find inspiration in my environment. Best wishes to everyone back home!